SEO and Analytics

The Top 12 Website KPIs for Small Business

June 14, 2019
By Pam Berg

Your website is a business investment, and like all of your other assets, you need to make sure it’s driving your goals. Whether you’re a business owner a digital marketer trying to prove the value of SEO and content marketing work – you need a solid set of website KPIs.

As a web design and development agency, we get asked to help establish website goals for most of the sites we build. And we love it! The stronger your KPIs, the more useful your data and the more value you can drive with your website.

These are the best website KPIs to get the ball rolling for any small business.

Measure website performance with Google Analytics

The two best ways to measure website performance straight from Google Analytics are easy to find using the default dashboard: pageviews and dwell time.


Pageviews are the most straightforward and obvious way to assess website performance, so they make a great starting point. You can check your pageviews under Behaviour > Site Content > All Pages.

google analytics dashboard showing pageviews as a website KPI

There are tons of reasons that pageviews might help you measure website performance.

For example:

  • About or Team pageviews – If caring about your company story and the people who make your business great is important to your brand, you’ll want to track visitors viewing your About content
  • Project or Case Study pageviews – Viewing a project gallery or case studies usually indicates deeper research, and a visitor who is closer to conversion
  • Contact pageviews – If you have a simple Contact page with your hours, location, and phone number, pageviews would indicate a strong intent to convert from a website visitor into a paying customer
  • Thank-You pageviews – If your website has custom Thank-You pages that display after filling out a form, these pageviews are highly valuable KPIs because they measure actual conversions

You can also configure a pageview goal in Google Analytics using the desired page’s URL.

Dwell time

Another quick-and-dirty way to measure website performance is dwell time (average time on page). This data tells you how long people are spending on each page or post, which indicates how well your content marketing is working and where you need to make adjustments. Are reading your 2,00-word blog post – or jumping ship after 10 seconds?

google analytics dashboard showing dwell time as a website KPI

Using dwell time data as a website KPI bypasses alarmist metrics like a high bounce rate, which can make great content look bad to those who don’t understand the nuances of online behaviour.

Bounce rate making you crazy? Check out A Complete Guide to Your Website’s Bounce Rate (and How to Fix It)!

Two things to know about dwell time:

  • Average time on page only measures sessions where no bounce occurred; whether someone read your whole article then exited your site, or someone bounced after a quick glance, both sessions would record 0 seconds on page
  • You can add event tracking like scroll depth to better track how many people made it to the end, or use a heatmap tool to track scrolls and even live session recordings

Dwell time data is found in the default Google Analytics dashboard, under Behaviour > Site Content > All Pages.

Track website KPIs with Google Tag Manager

When it comes to the best website KPIs for business, much of that data is captured using Google Tag Manager in tandem with Google Analytics. Once you’ve configured tags for the KPIs below, you can view them in Google Analytics under Behaviour > Events.

You can use those events to build goals in the Google Analytics Admin panel. Let’s look at the best website KPIs to configure in Google Tag Manager.

Clicks to download

If your website features downloadable resources like whitepapers, research, and manuals, you should be tracking those conversions with event tags! Downloading a resource shows trust in your company, and intent to return for further engagement. This is particularly useful for government-funded programs, to show proof of the value of your efforts where no e-commerce is involved.

google analytics dashboard showing resource downloads as a website KPI

Video plays

Watching embedded videos shows interest in your brand story (‘About’ content), trust in your expertise (tutorials), and other great website KPIs. Google Tag Manager now offers easy event configuration for embedded YouTube videos with a pre-made YouTube Video trigger. For non-YouTube videos, you can configure click events.

google tag manager configuration of video plays as a website KPI

Scroll depth

Want to learn more about the value of your content marketing? Add a scroll depth event to your site’s pages and posts. You can configure it to track any depths you like, for example: 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100%.

All you have to do is add a secondary dimension of ‘page’ to your events report in Google Analytics, and you’re all set to see how far visitors are willing to scroll.

google analytics dashboard showing scroll depth as a website KPI

Outbound links

Not every valuable business transaction takes place on your site. There are lots of great reasons to track outbound link clicks among your website KPIs. For example:

  • Partnership with another organization that includes directing traffic to their site
  • Clicks to another site within your domain are part of the conversion journey
  • Directing website traffic to other sites, such as local businesses, is your primary goal (this is common for tourism websites)

As with all event tags, make sure to label each outbound link so that they’re clearly identifiable within Google Analytics. You can then add secondary dimensions like traffic channels to see which sources drive the most outbound link clicks.

Where to buy and buy now clicks

If you sell products that are only available in stores, or on third-party sites like Amazon or a stand-alone payments platform, it stands to reason that you want to track those precious clicks on every product page. This way you can see which products are getting the most engagement, and sending foot traffic into stores. Quickly set this up in Tag Manager using a trigger that fires on all buttons containing the relevant click class, target, or URL (for example, ‘contains buy-now’).

Email newsletter opt-ins

Want to use Google Analytics to measure website performance in lead generation? You can configure event tracking in Tag Manager for email newsletter registrations. One of our clients has it set to differentiate between email opt-ins from the homepage or from a pop-up. This way they can see which lead collection method is working best.

google analytics dashboard showing email subscriptions as a website KPI

Request a demo, free trial, book a table

One of the most popular website KPIs in the tech industry is ‘request a demo’. Products ranging from CPG to SEO tools offer free trials, and many restaurants allow online reservations. How successful is your website’s user experience at encouraging people to make those conversions? Add tracking to the buttons (the same way it would be configured for ‘buy now’), and find out!

If you have a custom thank-you page for these requests, this is another ‘destination’ goal you can configure within Google Analytics without using Tag Manager.

Clicks to email, phone, or get directions

If your Contact page has links that allow visitors to tap or click to directly call, email, or get directions to your business, these are fantastic website KPIs. This way you can measure how well your website drives foot traffic, and the buyer’s journey into making contact. Once configured in Tag Manager, you can use Google Analytics view how many visitors took each action – and from which sources or demographics.

Form submissions

Forms are one of the best ways to measure website performance. Your website’s higher purpose is to get those forms filled out, right? Configure a ‘form submission’ event in Tag Manager, then check your success against each channel, device, audience demographic, or any other variable to see which segments are converting the best.

google analytics dashboard showing contact form submissions as a website KPI

Social media links

If increasing reach and growing your online community are key business goals, then clicks through to your social channels from your website are a great KPI. Configure a click event in Tag Manager for each social media icon on your site, then measure audience interest in Google Analytics and see which visitors are your most socially engaged.

Your website might have different conversion points that we didn’t mention, but we hope this list helped you kickoff your own website KPI list. Need a hand? We work with clients on a monthly basis to help track, analyze, and improve website performance. Check out our digital strategy services!

Pam Berg

Pam has backgrounds in journalism, computer forensics, and public libraries, which add up to the perfect mindset for digital strategy. She's been a professional content writer for over 20 years, and working with clients in SEO and analytics for 8 years. Her Instagram feed is equal parts horses, waffles, and drag performers.

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